Rapid Bible Read Through · 21 January 2017

Image courtesy of Keith Ferrin.

We had a guest speaker at church on January 1, 2017 who told me to do a rapid Bible read through. Actually, he just suggested it, and I decided to do it.

Keith Ferrin is the founder of That You May Know Ministries. He is a writer and speaker. And he has internalized the Bible. I always enjoy hearing him recite a book of the Bible from memory. It is like a show with the way he gives emotions to the voices. That might sound sacrilegious to some, but it is not. It is like hearing an audio book or reading out loud to your kids.

One of the most interesting things Mr. Ferrin said in his New Year’s Day message was that the Bible is the only book written where the purpose is to get to know and to fall in love with the Author. Yes, the Bible was written by many authors, but it is the inspired word of God. It is His love letter to us. That idea of the book’s purpose coupled with the thoughts of how we learn when we read changed my mind on how I read my Bible.

Mr. Ferrin said that one of the ways we learn is through story. Think about it. Aesop and, of course, Jesus taught through stories. Stories that made specific points about how to live life. And we remember the lessons because we remember the stories. So why would the whole Bible be any different? It is the greatest story ever told. So why not read it as a story?

I would never have thought to read the Bible quickly, but I am glad I decided to do so. After just a couple weeks of doing so, I have found Mr. Ferrin’s claim to be right. His claim was that our minds do not really kick in, do not really engage with the story, until you have been reading for ten minutes. So while reading devotionals and doing Bible studies are great, they may not give you much of the whole story.

One of Mr. Ferrin’s other claims that caught my attention was that God does not necessarily want to teach you something every day. It was one of those things that make you go “huh…” If we read our Bibles just to learn something, we might not really get the point of the story. God wants to be with us. And we can be with Him by listening to His story.

Anyway. I am not going to retell Mr. Ferrin’s story. (It is on a podcast.) I just wanted to give my particular take on it. And that is simply this. I am going to read the Bible like I would read a novel. I am going to read it for the story.

Sure, it is a novel idea (word play intended), but it is a good idea. Not to disagree with Fulton Oursler, who calls the story of Jesus The Greatest Story Ever Told, but I would include the whole Bible in that story.

Reading the Bible in larger chunks (like half an hour or more at a time), seems like more than just a good way to get through the whole thing. In fact, I would encourage anybody to read the all time best seller. Just to read it. No strings attached. Just read. In big chunks. (Did I mention half hour or so chunks?) There is a caveat though. If you do decide to read the Bible, you might get captivated by it. And you might even come to understand and want to know the Author better.

That was what I told one of my students as he was leaving my classroom for the last time a few years ago. He had talked about one of his teachers saying that the Bible could not be read for independent reading because those books had to be fiction. He said that comment intrigued him. So on that last day of his high school career, I told my soon to be former student, “Just be careful. If you read the Bible, you might just be changed by it.” Or something like that.

He responded wide-eyed, but knowingly, “I know.”

I am not sure whether my former student ever took that challenge to read the Bible, but I hope people the world over would. Whether they just read it out of curiosity or to humor a friend or to find out what the fuss is all about or just to finally read the whole story, I would encourage everybody to read it. Quickly. After all, it is nice to hear the whole story instead of just getting bogged down in some of the nitty gritty.

By the way, if you have never read any of the Bible before and do decide to read it in chunks (of a half hour or so), start in about the middle rather than in the beginning. If you start at Matthew and work through all the Jesus stuff first, some of the beginning stuff might make more sense. But of course, you can just start in the beginning. It does not really matter how you read it. Just read.

One other suggestion that I will steal from Mr. Ferrin’s talk. Read the Bible like you would read Curious George to a three year old. You can even give it inflection and emotion by reading out loud.

I am glad Keith Ferrin came and talked to our congregation about reading the Bible. And while I am sure he would love me to plug his books (Rapid Bible Read Thru is a good primer for how to do a rapid Bible read through), he and I would both just like everybody to join us in reading the Bible. After all, it is the greatest story ever told.

[Note: I am planning on reading the Bible in less than five months. Let me know if you want to join me, and I will put you into my private Facebook group.]

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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